Friday, May 25, 2012

We're Having a BOY!!

I never would have thought that at only 12 weeks pregnant, I would be able to find out the gender of our little monkey. But like a little surprise blessing, the teeny weeny one chose to strike a "spread eagle" pose for my (fabulous and funny) ultrasound technician, and with utmost certainty, we were told we were having a boy. We've got the pics to prove it (I will add the photo as soon as I am able). I was so thankful to have my mother-in-law with me at the appointment when we found out the exciting news.

I was actually surprised at HOW excited I was to hear we will be having a boy. Certainly, having grown up in a house with two sisters, raising two little girls would seem more familiar to me, and less new and scary. But honestly, I kind of like the newness and unfamiliarity of it. I've already told both my mother-in-law and my husband that they are going to have to help me learn the ropes of changing diapers and potty training this time around. :)

It also seems that the teeny weeny one is QUITE active. I'm pretty sure that during the course of the hour or so of the ultrasound, the baby moved about a gazillion times. I'm pretty sure he did a few jumping jacks, a short tap dance, a couple of laps around my womb, and some spins and turns. It made me dizzy just to watch him in action. Of course, when I relayed this information to C, we both kind of nervous-giggled. We are going to have our HANDS FULL. I am definitely going to have to change my blog tagline.

...and what about the title of my blog? My blog is named after the nickname I use for Emmy. I doubt I will use the same nickname for the monkey. Maybe I should just rename my blog "Mooshkatoo and Monkey" :) It's kinda catchy.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Beautifully Worded: A Mother's Wishes for Her Children

I love Laine, author of The Laine List, because she is incredibly open and honest about life, creativity, motherhood, and all things related, and because she writes in an elloquent but unassuming way. In this recent blog post, she wrote down eight wishes she has for her two children as they journey through life. Its one of those posts I wish I had written, because everything Laine says rings 100% true in my own wishes for my child and child-to-be. Please visit the page. I am sure you will relate.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Love Me Some Awkward Ladies

I feel like I’m one of those people that never quite “fit the mold,” you know? I’ve always been far too conventional to be considered “weird,” and far too “weird,” to be considered conventional. In grade school, I hung out with the “in” crowd, despite the fact that I enjoyed wearing sequined jackets and battery-lit sweatshirts to class. In high school, I split my time between hanging with ambitious AP students and gothy, artsy kids who ate their lunch in the photo development room (which unfortunately made every lunch taste like photo development chemicals). As an art student at college, I became a hermit and didn’t hang out much with anyone but my own shadow, my art projects, and the teachers I adored (ok, maybe that qualifies me as a bit odd, but it was only for a brief period of time).
As an adult, and certainly as a mommy, I have found myself teetering far more on the conventional side of life than the unconventional. There is hardly any aspect of my world that I could reasonably label as strange or extraordinary. I get up, I kiss my husband, I get dressed, I feed and dress myself and my beautiful daughter (in not-so-extraordinary clothing), I take her to daycare, I go to work, I come home, I kiss my husband, I feed Em dinner, I eat dinner, I kiss my husband, and I go to sleep. I’m kind of hoping to find a way to make room for my creative, somewhat zany self to re-immerge, but with baby number two on the way, I think it will be a few years before I find the time and space to do so. I do TRY to make my ordinary life, and motherhood, as magical as possible, but sometimes that is FAR FAR easier said than done.
The lack of “crazy” in my life has, I believe, led to my recent semi-obsession with odd-ball female television characters. I actually don’t watch much television, but I’ve realized that almost all of the shows I DO watch have a female character who is a little off the charts. For now, my weirdo self lives vicariously through these three quirky television characters that I am totally over-the-moon about:
·         Zooey Deschanel as The New Girl. This is the NO BRAINER, of course. “Jess” is the quintessential quirky cute girl. Her wardrobe is retro quirky. She shuns social norms in a naïve, child-like and oh-so-charming way. She breaks out into song and/or dance with frequency, shares A LOT of information with her friends and boyfriends (a la a five year old child, in that weirdly brutal, honest, and unself-conscious way), and doesn’t seem to have any awareness that she is one of the most beautiful people on the face of this earth. Loving “Jess” is easy. It’s almost too easy. Watching “Jess” and her crazy ways is like eating a delicious cupcake. You know it’s going to be good, and it is ALWAYS good. Because it’s a cupcake!
·         Ellie Kemper as “Erin” on The Office. I love this character. On the surface, she seems kinda witless and super naïve, but she is really QUITE smart and tuned-in. She also is just so incredibly strange, and makes an art form out of inappropriate office behavior. I must confess, I am new to The Office. I actually haven’t watched MOST of the seasons (mostly because I had so loved the British version with Ricky Gervais, and couldn’t see HOW the Americanized version would ever be any good), but am now thinking about joining Netflix for the sole purpose of renting the past seasons. I know that Erin only joined the show during Season Five, and am wondering if it is even worth it for me to watch episodes that pre-date her arrival, because to me she is such a HUGE part of the show’s funny.
·         Merritt Wever as “Zoey” on Nurse Jackie. Ok, so I MAY have cried with joy the other night, when at the end of this season’s Episode 5, Zoey did this fantastically amazing and dorky dance when she found out Nurse Jackie would be cooking Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes for her for dinner. I love happy dances, especially when they are done by adults, and especially when they are super duper dorky. “Jess” of The New Girl also recently did a super dorky happy dance when she found out that Nick would be staying on in the apartment as her fourth roommate (after threatening to move in with his on-again, off-again girlfriend). But I have to say, the dance that “Zoey” did was much better. It was sheer, unadulterated, pancake-induced happiness.
So there you have it.. I love me some awkward ladies. Do you have suggestions for other odd-ball women I should be watching? Maybe some lesser-known weirdos that take unconventionality to a whole new level? If so, please share!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother’s Day 2012 – One for the Books

When C came home from work on Friday with a 101 degree fever, I knew that any potential Mother’s Day plans were going to have to be… revisited. We don’t usually make a huge deal out of these kinds of holidays – maybe just a little dinner with my in-laws, and/or a nice family outing to a park or to the local Tulip Festival.
But I could tell just from looking at my husband that he was not doing well, and that even a Sunday family get-together might be out of the question this year.
On Saturday, after a feverish and uncomfortable night (and despite my request that he stay home and rest), C went to work. Emmy and I spent the day together, and had quite a bit of fun going to two local playgrounds and a local farm that was having a family-friendly baby animal day.
Saturday night, C came home from work and basically got right into bed. He did not seem well at all.
On Sunday, I wanted to give my husband space and time to relax and just stay in bed, so I took Emmy out to another playground and then to the Tulip Festival. We really had a great time together (save a few toddler melt downs, which is kind of par for the course these days). We listened to music (and danced a little), ate some crappy festival food, worked on some crafts in the kids’ tent, and people watched together. I tried talking to Emmy about some of the fantastic and outrageous outfits people were wearing, but she wouldn’t really participate in the conversation. I guess I have to wait a few more years for that to happen.
A big gray cloud started looming over the festival grounds, so I decided that it was best for Emmy and me to call it quits, especially because I was stroller-less, and didn’t think running through the rain with Emmy in my arms was going to be good for me or the little peanut growing inside me. Em fell asleep on my shoulder, with her arms wrapped around my neck, as we made our way back to the car. With her little head nuzzled deep into my neck, and the sound of the festival music still lingering in the air, I took a minute to appreciate the love I was feeling for my daughter. THAT was a real Mother’s Day moment.
When we got back home, C was in really bad shape. And I mean REALLY BAD. He was running a 104 degree temperature and felt like he was having trouble breathing and moving. He was understandably shaken, and I felt terrible for having left him alone for so long. With a little effort, we got him up and moving, and with his mom’s help (thank you, Mom), we took him to the ER at one of the Albany hospitals. I really did my best to keep my hormonal, worried self in check (I cry whenever I watch an episode of Nurse Jackie these days). I think the adrenaline of the situation, and just wanting to protect my husband and make sure he got whatever he needed to feel better, made me buck up and not fall to pieces (but as I write the story down today, I start crying like a baby. Go figure).
The ER ended up running a crazy amount of tests on C: An EKG, chest x-rays, blood work and cultures. They gave him I.V. fluids and checked all his vitals (which thank goodness were all fine).  When the doctor couldn’t find an obvious source of C’s fever and pounding headache, he suggested a spinal tap, to rule out meningitis. Poor C. He was really put through the ringer, and through it all he kept breaking fevers right and left. When C left the room for a moment before they began the spinal tap, I prayed. I really don’t pray often at all, but in that moment I prayed with my entire heart and body that C would be ok.
Thank goodness, C does NOT have meningitis. We are waiting to hear back on some of the blood work and cultures that were taken. We are hoping to rule out Lyme disease and some other not-so-friendly infections. I guess the best case scenario would be that C just contracted a weird viral fever, and that hopefully, with a little TLC (which I will have to force upon him because he is so horrible about resting), he’ll be feeling better by the end of this week.
It was a tough afternoon and evening. But as I was sitting there next to my husband in the ER, I had another moment. I recognized that this kind of love – the kind where you will do ANYTHING to help the other person, the kind that makes you pray (even though you are not the praying kind) that the person you adore will get better PRONTO – this kind of familial love is what Mother’s Day is all about.
So it was an unconventional celebration of sorts. I DID tell C that for next year’s Mother’s Day, I would prefer to just go out for a nice dinner, and that I didn’t need him to make all this fuss just to make the day memorable. Something tells me that he would be okay with that, too.
I love my daughter. I love my husband. I love being a mother and a wife, and having all this love in my life.
Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there, and to those who might not be mamas, but who feel like mamas to someone or something in their lives.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Let’s Get This Potty Started!

It was like magic. Seriously. Yesterday, C and I were slouching on our couch in a state of post-work exhaustion. I was fighting back a wave of nausea, and C was trying to shake off the day’s nonsense with a bottle of lager. Emmy was busying herself with one of her toys (I think it was her baby stroller), when all of a sudden she looked at C and me and said a little word with HUGE connotations.
C and I looked at each other, and then looked back at Emmy. She was kind of grimacing in that special toddler-doing-a-doody way.
“Poopy, Emmy? Do you need to go poopy???” I asked.
“I think she already IS going poopy” said C (such a skeptic, he is).
“Do you want to use the potty, Emmy???” I asked.
“Potty,” said Emmy.
The next minute was a whirlwind and a blur, a great slo-mo sequence of me trying to get Emmy to the bathroom in under 10 seconds. I jumped off the couch (to hell with the nausea! We’ve got a poopy situation to deal with)… Grabbed Emmy and ran to the toilet… Grabbed the potty seat and put it on the toilet… Yanked Emmy’s pants off… Opened her diaper to find a teeny tiny poop but figured that maybe more was on the way… Hoisted Em on to the toilet seat with eager anticipation… And Dada followed our frenzy into the bathroom, joining for the festivities…
“Shall we sing a potty song, Emmy?” I asked. Emmy smiled.
So all three of us sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (one of Emmy’s favorites) together, as Emmy sat on her potty seat. And as we were singing, I heard the most joyous sound I have heard in a LONG time.
Plop. Plop plop….. plop.
I would have jumped up in the air and screamed “HALLELUJAH” if I hadn’t been holding on to Emmy (just to make triple sure she wouldn’t fall into the toilet).  C and I looked at each other with sheer surprise and utter excitement and laughed. Emmy had done it! She had recognized she was pooping and she had told us! She had pooped on the potty! It was AMAZING!
Emmy wanted to keep sitting on the potty long after she had pooped. She was very curious about the toilet seat cover, and her special cushy potty seat. But after a few minutes, she said “all done” and I took her down from the potty.
Of course, we had to make a big deal of how fun it is to get wiped with toilet paper. And we had to make an extra big deal about how exciting it is to say bye bye to the poopy and watch it as it gets flushed away. And then we had to have some serious “high fives” from our super duper big girl.
And then, of course, we all washed our hands.
I’m not sure if we will have a repeat performance tonight, or tomorrow, or any time again this week. But the fact that potty time happened once means it might happen again, and that we may very well be on our way to toilet training our daughter.
Woo hoo!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Postcard from the Edge

I know. It’s been forever and a day since I last blogged. When I first found out I was pregnant, I thought I was going to be blogging every day about this pregnancy experience.

And then the nausea hit, like a fierce jab to the gut. And then the fatigue hit, like an uppercut to the head.

It’s been about 4 weeks now of pretty constant misery. I wish I could say I’ve been a trooper, but I’d be lying if I did. I’ve been going through the motions at work, trying to distract myself with my various responsibilities. On occasion, I’ve shut my office door and just cried through the nausea. In the evenings, I have come home from work, collapsed on the couch, and bawled into one of our many throw pillows. On my not-so-bad days, I’ve just kind of sat in the livingroom, lump-like, counting the minutes before I could bring Emmy into bed for the night.

It’s true. I have been quite useless. I thank god every day for my incredible husband, who has picked up my slack like a champion. He has spent the last four weeks chasing Emmy around the house, cleaning up after all of us, and making home improvements. He has given his all to making sure that Emmy is having fun and being entertained and cared for while mama cries into her pillows. With me slightly removed from the picture, the two of them have really bonded, and I can tell Emmy is dada’s number one fan. He’s really been a wonder to us both. I love my husband. I also can’t wait to give him a well-deserved break...

My creative energy has also been totally depleted. I’ve thought about writing on a few occasions, but was never able to gather my pieces together enough to actually put my thoughts down on paper. So I just haven’t. Thus the lull.

But now, at 10 weeks pregnant, I am beginning to feel just a hint of hope. It took until noontime today for the nausea to catch up to me, and that is a heck of a lot better than it has been. I did get a prescription for medication from my OB/GYN to use on the really rough days, but I am hoping to not rely on medication. I’m optimistic that within a month, I will be feeling at least somewhat more like myself, and that I will start to actually enjoy this pregnancy. When those days come, I will be thrilled to blog all about it. Stay tuned…

But I also can’t go without saying SOMETHING about how beautifully Emmy has been growing this past month. She is a joy to be around, even when I am feeling super crummy. Right now she is LOVING her new counting skills (she is able to count to ten with confidence now, which I think is pretty amazing). She also loves singing, and serenades dada and me with “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (or her version of that song) at all times of the day, even while she is nursing. She even sings along with us when we sing “Diaper Time” (our spin-off of “Closing Time” by Semisonic). Her newest phrases are “it’s ok” and “I see you”. And she love love LOVES playing outdoors. If she had her way, I am pretty sure she would be outside from dawn to dusk, every day. She is just incredible. I love my girl.